A Network Operating System runs on a server and provides the server the capability to manage data, users, groups, security, applications, and other networking functions. The primary purpose of the network operating system is to allow shared file and printer access among multiple computers in a network, typically a local area network (LAN), a private network or to other networks.
Examples of network operating systems include Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Microsoft Windows Server 2008, UNIX, Linux, Mac OS X, Novell Net Ware, and BSD.
The advantages of network operating systems are as follows −
- Centralized servers are highly stable.
- Security is server managed.
- Upgrades to new technologies and hardware can be easily integrated into the system.
- Remote access to servers is possible from different locations and types of systems.
The disadvantages of network operating systems are as follows −
- High cost of buying and running a server.
- Dependency on a central location for most operations.
- Regular maintenance and updates are required.